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Following One Year Mark of Mass Shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee Lawmakers Look to Cruelly Expedite Passing  Bill to Arm Teachers 


Following the one year mark of the mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, common sense gun reform remains top of mind for many. Yet, instead of taking active steps towards protecting constituents, Tennessee lawmakers are working to expeditiously pass a bill to arm teachers, despite consistent and loud pleas from survivors and community members to abandon this extreme and dangerous legislation. 

“It’s been a year since the horrific shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, and not only does Tennessee still have one of the highest rates of gun violence in the country, extremist lawmakers want to put more deadly weapons into schools,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action. “Arming teachers is not the answer to school shootings – it’s a dangerous next step in the gun lobby’s ‘guns everywhere’ agenda. We need to vote these reckless politicians out, and elect lawmakers who will fight for the common sense, research-backed gun safety laws that Tennesseans deserve.”

Last year, in the immediate aftermath of the deadly shooting at the Covenant school, Governor Lee called for a special session to address public safety. Unfortunately, instead of using this opportunity to listen to the calls of survivors, families and advocates, legislators instead attempted to advance legislation to arm teachers, which would have allowed faculty, staff, and even visitors to carry guns at public schools. In fact, lawmakers took a greater interest in forcibly removing mothers and survivors from committee hearings than passing bills to make their constituents safer.  Following relentless advocacy by gun safety advocates, survivors, and students – despite aggressive efforts to tamp dissent – lawmakers ultimately rejected legislation to arm teachers.  It is no surprise that reckless attempts to arm teachers has continued into this year’s legislative session, as lawmakers are once again choosing to “debate the safety of their communities” behind closed doors in a process that has often excluded their constituents and their own colleagues 

Across the country, extremist legislators continue to attempt to bring guns into school, despite research showing that arming teachers and staff will only put our kids in more danger.In the first months of 2024, extremist state legislators in 11 states have introduced legislation that would allow – and sometimes even force – more guns into K-12 classrooms or expand policies in states where teachers are already armed. While 2023 saw an alarming number of school shootings and incidents involving guns on school campuses, extreme lawmakers across the country have instead focused on arming teachers and school personnel.

Research shows that arming teachers increases the risk of gun violence in schools and puts the lives of students, teachers, and law enforcement at risk. Across all forms of gun violence in America’s schools, 58 percent of shooters were associated with the school – they were either current or former students, staff, faculty, or school resource officers. An armed teacher is much more likely to shoot a student bystander or be shot by responding law enforcement than to be an effective solution to an active shooter in a school. Firearms are the leading cause of death for American children and teens. Gun violence is a public health crisis that lawmakers can take active steps toward solving. Instead of militarizing Tennessee schools, lawmakers should work to pass secure storage legislation that has been proven effective in reducing the risk of gun violence.